“You'd be surprised what people will do for money that they wouldn't do for love.” — Rachel Caine, Bite Club
In divorce, disagreements about money are frequent and challenging. When children are involved, those issues can easily become matters of concern that affect the Army community and the unit’s readiness and ability to focus on its mission.
Realizing that is often the case, the Army set forth Army Regulation 608-99 to define Army policies for Family support, child custody and paternity.
If someone is separating from their spouse or contemplating separation, they need to become intimately acquainted with AR 608-99. Although the regulation is detailed, it deals only with the general support obligations of service members upon separation from a spouse and/or dependents. These obligations can be found in AR 608-99 at Section 2-6.
Section 2-6 applies to service members who have separated from their spouse but have not yet obtained a separation agreement or a valid court order. The service member’s obligation to support the Family begins on the date the parties stop living together. Starting from that date, the service member must provide his or her dependents a specific amount of financial support based on the Soldier’s rank.
Other factors that affect the calculation include whether the Soldier is supporting multiple Family units, whether the Family is residing in government Family housing, and whether the spouse is also active-duty military.
The service member’s financial obligation is set out on the non-locality basic allowance for housing rates, which can be found at www.defensetravel.dod.mil/Docs/perdiem/browse/Allowances/Non-Locality_BAH/2017-Non-Locality-BAH-Rates.pdf .
The legal assistance offices at Fort Bragg can help a service member or spouse calculate the exact amount owed by applying the service member or spouse’s facts to the Basic Allowance for Housing Type II, with dependants chart.
Financial support payments may be made in a variety of ways, but in most cases, the service member is best protected by setting up an allotment. A service member may also provide support by making essential payments in an amount equal to the service member’s financial obligation set out in the BAH-II-WITH chart.
Regardless of the method of payment, the support must be paid no later than the first of each month. Service members should protect themselves by keeping records and receipts of every payment.
Failure to provide support for dependents may negatively affect a Soldier’s career, so it is in the best interest of the Soldier to willingly and proactively comply with the regulation. Again, the legal assistance offices can provide help in this matter.
In limited situations a service member may be relieved of his or her obligation under AR 608-99. Be warned, however, that the service member’s financial support obligation continues until he or she is specifically released from the obligation by either the battalion commander or a special court-martial convening authority.
A legal assistance attorney would review with the service member the exceptions and, if applicable, would help him or her apply for an exception to policy.
Those with specific questions about the financial support requirements of AR 608-99 should contact the XVIII Airborne Corps Legal Assistance Office at 396-0396, the 82nd Airborne Division Legal Assistance Office at 432-0195 or the 1st Sustainment Command Legal Assistance Office at 396-9800.